Determinants of whistleblowing within government agencies

Yoon Jik Cho, Hyun Jin Song

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Citations (Scopus)


Since Miceli and Near's seminal work, scholars and practitioners have sought to identify determinants of whistleblowing behaviors. For example, Miceli, Near, Rehg, and Van Scotter argued that proactive personality, less co-worker invalidation, and leverage in the specific situation lead to whistleblowing. Nevertheless, the decision to whistleblow is a complicated process, and relevant factors are still under exploration. This research seeks to answer the question "What factors influence whistleblowing intention within government agencies?" Investigating U.S. federal employees, this research tests the effects of several factors as determinants of whistleblowing, including perceived personal costs, public service motivation (PSM), education on whistleblowing, organizational support, and organizational protection. In examining the relationships among the variables, this research explores the mediating role of perceived personal costs. Using 2010 Merit Principles Survey data, this research conducts structural equation model analysis. The analysis result demonstrates that personal costs decrease whistleblowing intention, whereas PSM and education on whistleblowing increase the intention. Organizational support and protection contribute to enhancing whistleblowing intention by reducing perceived personal costs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)450-472
Number of pages23
JournalPublic Personnel Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Dec 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2015.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Administration
  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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